Ate it For $8: Hong Kong Royal Restaurant in Carrollton

This week Kristy Alpert uncovers a semi-secret restaurant in Carrollton, Hong Kong Royal Restaurant.

Overview: For the past four years Hong Kong Royal Restaurant has captured the palates Carrollton diners with its oversized entrees and delicious dim sum. But my theory is that the true appeal of this place has nothing to do with their affordable aliments. Hong Kong Royal’s allure comes in the form of providing people with the oddest dining experiences of their lives–at least that’s what happened to me. From a slow-motioned waitress carting my meal through a maze of tables only to get turned around and head back to the kitchen as though she forgot what she was doing, fried jellyfish displayed in a glass cage, a large, ornately-velvet stage with no clear purpose (karaoke I hope?), to menu items that would make PETA protest, this place doesn’t just deal in the bizarre; it excels in it. The experience was well worth eight bucks, but the menu was a different story.

Jump for it.

Peking duck.

Menu: The regular menu includes everything you’d expect to order in a typical Asian restaurant in Dallas (Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, General Tso’s Beef, etc.) all priced around $8.95. However, prices go up from when you reach the starsof the menu: Peking Duck for $42. Dim sum specials range from $3–$6 and include classics like shrimp and spinach dumpling and bizarre items like shark fin dumpling for $3.90 (Yes, I doubled checked and they said used shark fin). Lunch specials run from 10AM until 3PM and include soup, wontons, and a giant entrée. Most are below $7.95.

What we ate: The egg drop soup was served hot with kernels of corn sinking to the bottom amidst floating bits of fresh egg.  Our order of fried shrimp wontons ($3.90) came out after the rest of the meal (although I spotted them sitting on the counter five minutes before our food arrived, cooling in the sauce (stench?) of seafood and soy sauce). They might have been better if they’d been delivered on time. But one bite was enough to tell me I picked the wrong “appetizer.” The wonton was also served with a side of flavored Miracle Whip served with a plastic spoon.

This may have been the wrong place to bring my CIA trained friend, because when her Shrimp Fried Rice ($5.95) came to the table, she stared in shock at uncleaned shrimp surrounded by what would have been a beautiful bowl of lightly stir-fried rice with egg, green onions, and lettuce. This bland dish wasn’t anything a bit of chili sauce couldn’t fix, and ended up being great once doctored up with condiments and purged of shrimp. My order of Singapore Style Thin Rice Noodle ($7.95) came out about eight minutes later with beef, uncleaned shrimp, carrots, egg noodles, yellow curry, green onions, bean sprouts, onions, sesame seeds, egg, and red pepper flakes. A pinch of sugar would have made this dish pop, but the flavor was great!

Extras: You’d be missing out if you didn’t order a few rounds of dim sum here — pork dumplings, steamed BBQ pork buns, crispy shrimp ball, etc. This place strikes me as the type of joint that has a secret menu, but honestly, most of the taboo dishes already sit front of house (i.e. shark fin, squab, etc.). For duck fans out there, you can get a large portion of duck and cabbage for only $6.95, and hot pot items are large enough to share for only 10 bucks.

Wontons
Shrimp fried rice.

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